A French scientist at the institute IHU Mediterranee Infection has isolated a new variant of Covid-19, which has been named IHU, or the B.1.640.2 variant.
The variant has been detected in just 12 patients near Marseille, France, but it is said to contain 46 mutations, which may make it more resistant to vaccines. Some of the mutations in the variant are also found in Omicron, indicating it may be another fast-spreading version. Omicron has about 50 genetic mutations.
But so far, little is widely known except that it was identified in November and apparently hasn’t spread much. The World Health Organization said during a Tuesday press briefing that the variant hasn’t seemed like much of a threat and that it had “a lot of chances to pick up.”
The first patient to have been identified with the IHU variant had just returned to France from the African nation of the Republic of Cameroon.
The French scientist who discovered the mutation, Didier Raoult, was previously roundly criticized by the medical establishment for recommending the use of hydroxychloroquine and another anti-malarial drug to treat Covid.
Raoult is most known on the Covid scene since his proposed treatment for Covid-19 was touted as a miracle cure by President Trump. According to a story in the New York Times, Raoult believes that his colleagues fail to see that their ideas are the products of mere intellectual fashions — that they are hypnotized by methodology into believing that they understand what they do not and that they lack the discipline of mind that would permit them to comprehend their error.
“Raoult, who founded and directs the research hospital known as the Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire Méditerranée Infection, or IHU, has made a great career assailing orthodoxy, in both word and practice. ‘There’s nothing I like more than blowing up a theory that’s been so nicely established,’ he once said. He has a reputation for bluster but also for a certain creativity. He looks where no one else cares to, with methods no one else is using, and finds things. In just the past 10 years, he has helped identify nearly 500 novel species of human-borne bacteria, about one-fifth of all those named and described. Until recently, he was perhaps best known as the discoverer of the first giant virus, a microbe that, in his opinion, suggests that viruses ought to be considered a fourth and separate domain of living things. The discovery helped win him the Grand Prix Inserm, one of France’s top scientific prizes. It also led him to believe that the tree of life suggested by Darwinian evolution is ‘entirely false,’ he told me, and that Darwin himself ‘wrote nothing but inanities.’ He detests consensus and comity; he believes that science, and life, ought to be a fight,” ,” wrote Scott Sayare in the New York Times last year.
“It is in this spirit that, over the objections of his peers, and no doubt because of them, too, he has promoted a combination of hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug, and azithromycin, a common antibiotic, as a remedy for Covid-19,” Sayare wrote. The article about Raoult is at this link.